Using an excess amount of paper can seem unavoidable at times for companies, many of which enjoy having a hard copy of everything. While it is prudent to have hard copies of some materials, an over-estimation of this desire can cause too much paper waste. Most companies are using too much paper, and are now considering the use of content and document management software to cut down on paper use, which would in turn cut down on both company expenses and environmental harm. What a combo! Below are some ways companies continue to waste paper (and thus, money) on a daily basis:
Memos: The exchange of details could be simpler, and more environmentally friendly
Meeting details, due date specifications, and hourly adjustments are just a few reasons why you supervisor or co-worker may send out a memo. These have been in paper form for quite some time, though with the emergence of responsive e-mail and content management software, the method for memos to reach their recipient are changing, and in terms of paper conservation it’s for the better.
Mail-outs: A double-sided prospect is usually a better one
While traditional mail may be harder to curb, as select recipients may prefer traditional postage over e-mail, companies spend a significant sum on mailing costs — from postage fees to the time it takes to send out a letter. Most companies do not take the time to use both sides of paper when mailing materials out, either. If they were to opt for double-sided copying, companies could reduce annual paper usage by 20%. It’s a simple drop-down selection, people.
Machines vs. Humans: Battle of the incompetence!
Let’s face it: we’re not all tech whizzes. Configuring and using a copier, printer, or MFP (multifunction printer) usually takes everyone at least a few tries. The paper wasted from our keep-trying-until-it-works troubleshooting on these machines can become significant. Visual diagrams instructing workers how to operate the machines save time and money, while making the environment happier.
Spam comes in all forms
E-mail spam doesn’t do much to harm the environment, but the persistence of magazine and tabloid spam that arrives unwelcomed to both offices and homes continues to be a nuisance. I used to receive at least one unsolicited magazine in the mail each week. Both business and home owners should take the initiative to manually unsubscribe to any unwanted mail subscriptions, which may exist even if you didn’t sign up knowingly in the first place.
The little things count
The tips above should help reduce paper use significantly, but keeping in mind the little things also goes a long way. If you have used paper lying around your office, check to see if the other side is used yet. If not, it could be a useful addition to the copier or printer. Start a “recycled paper” box for the area next to your office printer and maybe your co-workers will jump on board. Stocking the office kitchen with reusable items, as opposed to paper products, can also help.
But once your company makes adjustments to conserve paper usage, what can you do with the extra paper? Some ideas:
– Donate it! Programs like SCRAP let companies and individuals donate paper products and other tools to schools in need.
– Paper Football tournament!
– Paper airplane competition!
– Coloring contest! (or see whose kids can draw the best)
– Origami lessons!
– Extra paper towels (though they’ll be too rough to use as toilet paper)
But really, if you have excess paper, don’t order any more until it’s absolutely necessary – and consider a document management solution that will eliminate the paper burden on your organization.
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